Comedian Jon Stewart expressed admiration and respect on Saturday for Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was a successful comedian before being elected Ukraine’s president.
The former “Daily Show” host discussed Zelenskyy with writers Robby Slowik and Rob Christensen on his new show, “The Problem With Jon Stewart.”
“We are comedians, and we know the general brand of cowardice that runs through our business,” said Stewart.
That, he said, was in stark contrast to the actions of Zelenskyy, who has emerged as a strong wartime leader during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Zelenskyy has posted videos expressing his resolution to stay in Kyiv, the country’s capital, and fight, despite threats to his life. When the United States offered to evacuate Zelenskyy from the city, he reportedly said, “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”
“We’re watching Shecky Greene transform into Churchill,” Stewart said, a reference to the nightclub comedian who was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show,” and former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who led the United Kingdom during World War II.
He also imagined a darkly funny scene involving a group of comics complaining about the “horrors” of their profession ― like being poorly treated at a comedy club ― before Zelenskyy chimes in to recount the genuine horrors of war.
Stewart praised what he characterized Zelenskyy’s “grace” under the circumstances.
“What this dude is doing, it is incredibly moving,” he said.